THAT TIME SHIT WENT DOWN IN THE EL MOCAMBO PARKING LOT

See, I’m going to try to tell you a story about an event that I wasn’t even at, but heard enough about it that I think I can relay it pretty well.  Back in the last turn of the century, we had a band together that did a few shows here and there.  Without a doubt, it was the most “successful” band I had ever played in.  I mock the term successful because we didn’t actually do anything outside of playing a few great shows that weren’t in our home town.  We played okay, and from time to time people gave a shit about us.  By no means did we quit our day jobs, and eventually ended up splitting because one of us couldn’t justify the bullshit when his day job was so good.  Anyway, we did a pile of silly shit over the time we were together, and there were many stories.  This story had nothing to do with me, but it is too good not to tell, so I will try.

El-Mocambo-in-1969One of the places we loved playing when in Toronto was the El Mocambo.  Yeah, the guy booking us was a bit insane, and we had to fight to get paid a few times, even though the dude would rave about loving us, but we loved the crowds and the shows, and we kept coming back for more.  Coming back to the whole successful thing, we never made a dime, and we certainly did not get accommodations taken care of when we played out of town.  Like any other touring band trying to make a name for themselves, we would play our show and then try to find a couch to crash on – even if it meant we didn’t all stay together.  One one such occasion, I had made plans to stay with a great old pal from back in the day, our drummer knew folks in town, but both guitar players struck out and were forced to sleep in the van.  The weather wasn’t all that bad that time of year, and the van was parked in the back parking lot – so why the hell not.

januarydowntwn-532-editHere’s where shit gets interesting, and where I need to paraphrase a bit – because I was on the other side of the city, comfy in a warm bed.  Apparently, as the sun was starting to come up, the lads heard some voices in the parking lot.  Looking out the window, it became clear that maybe they needed to duck down a bit and not be seen.  Peering with just there eyes above the window, the boys could see a couple of shady-looking guys standing around the back of a parked car.  When the trunk popped open, what looked to be pillowcase-sized bags of white powder were being assessed by one of the sketchy dudes.  If they weren’t keeping their heads down then, they sure the fuck were now.  Shit was going down, as Cracker might put it.  That was a shit-tonne of yayo in those bags.  The parking lot was still dead quiet, but this all came to a sudden end.

Without warning, two cars come screaming into the parking lot, and one of the buyers stood back and pulled a gun and pointed it at the seller.  It was a drug bust – a fucking serious one.  Both guys from my band are now jockeying for safe viewing space while trying not to be seen by anyone.  That would not be good.  In the end, kilo after kilo of cocaine was pulled from that car, and the once calm and quiet parking lot was now bustling with flashing lights and police officers.

Bands are often asked about what kind of stories they have from playing out on the road, and most people want to hear the stupid hotel room shenanigans or sexual escapades, but in reality it’s the weirder and scary things like this that are more interesting.  Over the next week, I will share a few more interesting stories from our time on the road. – FATS